City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

2013 Imaginate Festival, Scotland’s international festival of performing arts for children

By Editor - Posted on 14 March 2013

Chalk About

This year’s Imaginate Festival, Scotland’s international festival of performing arts for children and young people, runs from Monday 6 May to Monday 13 May 2013 at venues across Edinburgh.

Now in its 24th year, the Imaginate Festival will present thirteen productions from Scotland, England, Europe and USA, including a programme of international dance and new commissions by Scottish choreographers. Selected productions will also go on tour to various locations throughout Scotland.

This year’s programme includes productions from six different countries:

  • from Belgium, Compagnie ChaliWaté present Îlo (for everyone 5+)
  • from England, Bootworks Theatre present The Incredible Book Eating Boy (for everyone 4 – 7 years)
  • from England Unicorn Theatre present Something Very Far Away (for everyone 8+)
  • from Ireland, Branar Téatar do Pháistí present Mise – The Story of A Girl (for everyone 6+)
  • from the Netherlands Arch 8 Dance Group present their double bill of dance duets, No Man is an Island and My True North (for everyone 8+)
  • from the Netherlands Het Lab Utrecht present Alles (for everyone 4 -7 years)
  • from the Netherlands Maas theater en dans present Wanted: Rabbit (for everyone 3 – 5 years)
  • from USA, The Robot Planet present The Intergalactic Nemesis – Live-Action Graphic Novel. Book One: Target Earth (for everyone 8+)

As always, outstanding work produced by Scottish companies for children and young people is represented at the Festival this year:

  • Curious Seed present Chalk About (for everyone 8+), a playful, funny and sometimes moving look at how we see ourselves and others, featuring dance and chat and devised and performed by Christine Devaney and Leandro Kees.
  • National Theatre of Scotland present a new adaptation of The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish, a delightful show which is a little bit about being a sibling and a little bit about being a genius (for everyone 6 – 10 years), based on the book by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, created by Lu Kemp (One Thousand Paper Cranes, Titus) and Abigail Docherty (One Thousand Paper Cranes) and written by Oliver Emanuel (Titus).
  • Shona Reppe presents the award-winning The Curious Scrapbook of Josephine Bean (for everyone 7+), a beautiful and intriguing show where slowly, page-by-page, a scrapbook becomes the window into a secret world as a curious life unfolds before us.
  • For older children and young people, Tumult in the Clouds presents the multi-award winning Fleeto (for everyone 13+) written and directed by Paddy Cunneen. Inspired by the Iliad and drawing on Glasgow’s ‘knife culture’, Fleeto is a hard-hitting contemporary Scottish re-invention of the Greek tragic form that explores youth and the powerful lure of brotherhood in gang culture.
  • Visible Fictions presents their swashbuckling hit show The Mark Of Zorro (for everyone 5+) – a masked figure arrives in town and ricochets from one sticky situation to another in a world where adventure is the name and justice is the game!

Free Fringe

Imaginate also returns with its third Fringe for Families on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May 2013. Free, fun packed and full of variety, this is always a very popular event and takes place in the nooks, crannies and open spaces of the Traverse Café Bar during the Festival weekend.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Imaginate enriches children’s lives, supports their development and can unlock their creative potential. The festival supports Scotland’s economy and helps to promote our nation’s rich culture, heritage and distinct identity on the world stage.

"That is why, through our Expo Fund, the Scottish Government has awarded £70,000 towards a week long programme of the best international dance for young audiences, featuring new commissions by Scottish choreographers and a concentrated professional development programme for dance artists.”

Curious Seed’s production Chalk About (pictured) is commissioned by Imaginate and supported through the Scottish Government's Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.

Iain Munro, Director of Creative Development at Creative Scotland said: “Once again the Imaginate Festival will present a brilliant mix of shows and activities from leading Scottish and international companies that will delight young children and their families. For some of the audience it might be the first time in their lives they’ve been in a theatre - a fantastic introduction to the enjoyment and new ways to learn and see the world that the arts brings. There are also superb opportunities for those working in, or with aspirations to work in, children’s theatre to develop and share skills and ideas as part of a festival which continues to play a major role in Scotland remaining a world leader in presenting and creating children’s theatre.”

Tony Reekie, Festival Director said: “A warm welcome to young and old, big and small, to enjoy and celebrate the world's best work for children and young people. We think we have a broad and exciting mix this year to suit every taste!”

Tickets for this year's Festival are available from the Traverse Theatre.


Imaginate receives the public funding from Creative Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund. It is also supported by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), The Mackintosh Foundation and St James’s Place Foundation.

Partners include Lyra based at Artspace, Dance Base, Edinburgh Festivals, Fresh Tracks Europe, National Museums Scotland and The Work Room.

Imaginate is a partner of Fresh Tracks Europe – a youth dance network for a new generation of choreographers. From 2011 until 2013 Fresh Tracks Europe will manage the New Artistic Identities programme.